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European political party ALDE speaks of signs of democratic backsliding in Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, October 9
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), calls on the government of Georgia to carry out electoral system reform before the parliamentary elections 2016.

“Georgia is heading to important parliamentary elections next year, which will be a crucial test case of the level of democracy, media freedom, pluralism and the rule of law and will decide whether this country preserves its position as a front runner in reforms among countries of the Eastern Partnership,” reads the statement released by ALDE.

ALDE mentions the signs of the decline of democracy in Georgia in an official statement. European politicians claim that electoral reform will contribute to the strengthening of pluralism in the Parliament.

“We urge therefore the government of Georgia to undertake, as a matter of urgency, the necessary reform of the electoral system which would strengthen pluralism in the parliamentary representation. This reform should implement a recent ruling of the Constitutional Court of Georgia and bring electoral legislation more in line with Georgia's OSCE commitments and ODIHR recommendations. Also, we encourage the government to strengthen the impartiality, independence and effectiveness of the judicial system,” the statement says.

The leader of the Free Democrats (FD), Irakli Alasania,, thinks that the statement of ALDE is a serious message to the government of Georgia and it shows that Europe’s positive attitude towards Georgia is changing.

“The statement is a desire to help Georgia not to make such a mistake which would harm the country’s image and make it impossible to cooperate with the Europeans,” stated Alasania.

Giorgi Kandelaki, a member of the opposition party, the United national Movement (UNM), says that the message from ALDE shows that the government is isolated from Europe.

“The choice is simple – either we continue to go towards Europe, or we fall into the abyss with Bidzina Ivanishvili,” Kandelaki said.

The majority does not share the views of the European MPs. They say that 2016 elections will be transparent and the statements of ALDE are exaggerated.

According to a member of the majority, Tamar Kordzaia, the government has realized the importance of the upcoming elections, and they are going to be fair.

“We understand very well that the processes in Georgia are being studied by international partners and I think that the government will do everything to ensure that we successfully pass through these stages, "said Kordzaia.